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The Monday Roundup: Cars as weapons, shredding bikes, seeing Black riders, and more

Posted by on June 1st, 2020 at 11:12 am

Here are the most noteworthy items the BikePortland community came across in the past seven days.

Vehicular violence: We’ve seen several examples of people using vehicles as weapons at protests around the country: A tanker truck driver was arrested after barreling through a crowd of protestors in Minneapolis; NYPD officers used their SUVs as battering rams; and a driver rammed into a skateboarder in northeast Portland on Friday.

CDC’s bad advice: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control said employers should encourage people to drive alone in cars to work, a move that will further erode transit use and have dramatic negative impact on public health. The recommendation caused a swift and stern reaction from the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO).

Vancouver BC open streets: A driving ban in Stanley Park went so well that Vancouverites are set to remove parked cars and drivers from major arterials in favor of dining tables and other business services.

Parklets in the ‘Couv: Even our local Vancouver is getting into it with a new program that will allow businesses to seat customers in spaces formerly used to store private vehicles.

London’s future: “We have no choice. This is not ideological opportunism. This is a necessity,” says London’s walking and cycling commissioner about their response to Covid-19 streets.

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The U.K. isn’t messing around: “Anything that does not meaningfully alter the status quo on the road will not be funded,” stated an official memo sent to local governments from the U.K.’s Department for Transportation.

Shredding bikes (not in a good way): Tens of thousands of perfectly good Jump e-bikes (used in bike share systems) were destroyed and scrapped last week, in a “shameful” display of waste that raises deep questions about micromobility vehicles and the companies who own them.

See Black riders: Many transportation and bike advocacy-related systems perpetuate systemic racism. One of them is how cities count bicycle users in ways that don’t fully see the full scope of who’s on bikes.

No cars in the Quarter: It’s inspiring to see people like New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell seriously consider banning driving in large areas like the famous French Quarter. “This is the city’s time to reimagine just how we live, how we move about, how we enjoy, and how we get to know and learn the fabric of our city,” she says.

Toll road bailout: Funny how toll roads are pitched as private solutions but then owners stick hands out for public tax dollars when going gets tough.

E-buses: The transit system that serves the Salem-Keizer region won a $3.5 million grant and will use the funds to purchase five electric buses.

Video of the Week: Microcars being used in The Netherlands are causing a bit of consternation in the world’s most famous bike lanes.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Todd
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Todd

An all too depressing weekend…reminds me too much of my childhood in the NE in the 60s/70s…watching fiery space rockets and smoking city centers…sadly not the voices of joy heard in Portland’s neighborhoods when President Obama was first elected…;-(

RudiV
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RudiV

“Footage of NYPD Vehicles Surging Into Crowd of Protesters Sparks Further Outrage”.

The better question is, what *wouldn’t* spark “further outrage” among rioter…err “protesters”?

Also there’s a story out of Richmond, VA from this weekend where rioters blocked firefighters from reaching a house they set on fire with a child inside. You don’t know what these NYPD vehicles were responding to. It might have been a similar life or death situation.

Champs
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Champs

“Don’t interrupt your opponent’s mistake” was an argument I made about the Trump administration’s plans to privatize highway development, i.e. building toll roads, a few years ago.

It would be nice to take a victory lap if I didn’t already know that the bailout will be “necessary” to save the pension funds. This is at the expense of young adults in America, who stay at the back of the line until they decide to get off their butts and vote.

Eawriste
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Eawriste

https://gothamist.com/news/de-blasio-finally-condemns-police-driving-vehicles-into-new-yorkers-protesters

It took AOC, Corey Johnson, and many others for BDB to change his answer regarding the NYPD’s use of cars against people. Even if he could run for mayor, I doubt he would have a chance now.

GlowBoy
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GlowBoy

Thanks for your continued attention to vehicular violence, Jonathan. Using vehicles as weapons against not only protesters, but also against police, has happened a number of times the past week around the country. We need some greater awareness and restraint about using cars in that way. Many people I know who are gun enthusiasts, for example, take safety extremely seriously and follow multiple protocols and safeguards (both physical and psychological) every time they handle a firearm, in order to avoid tragedy. We need to take a more serious attitude about how we wield the deadly weapons known as automobiles.

By the way, the horrifying incident with the tanker truck here in Minneapolis last night was on the exact same I-35W crossing that collapsed in 2007, killing 13 people. As bad as that was (and I’ve met survivors of that nightmare), several factors combined to create a minor miracle in that hundreds weren’t killed back then.

It’s perhaps an even bigger miracle that hundreds weren’t killed last night, given a semi tanker, fully loaded with thousands of gallons of gasoline, approaching a crowd of thousands at a speed (according to state patrol) of 70 miles per hour. Hopefully recent reports prove true that the entire incident was inadvertent, but what a frightfully close call.

Chris I
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Chris I

The existence of privately-funded toll roads baffles me. Why would it ever make sense to go into business when the government provides a subsidized alternative of the same thing? They really seem to underestimate how much time people are willing to waste sitting in traffic to save a few bucks.

Bikeninja
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Bikeninja

Its a little ironic that cars are being used against the protestors, because if such events in other places in the world are any indicator, then as these protests grow and progress the protestors will get their revenge as more and more cars are set fire. This is one of the problems with bringing expensive flammable objects to public demonstrations, or using the public right of way to store expensive flammable objects.

David Hampsten
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David Hampsten

See black riders: Yet another dumb academic article that states the obvious but offers no solutions. Anyone who does bicycle advocacy anywhere in the USA knows that the only people who can show up to a mid-afternoon with meeting with city officials are either paid to be there or are unemployed and/or retired – white people for the most part, usually male, even among the public agency representatives. How do we get more non-white people from the public or nonprofits to attend and participate? The article doesn’t explain how, nor even why they should bother attending, as the public agencies often ignore our input (from the white male bicycling community) and clearly from their actions, from any other community as well.

Opus the Poet
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You know using motor vehicles as weapons is a crime against humanity.

Johnny Bye Carter
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Johnny Bye Carter

Toll road bailout: $9,200,000,000 for 3 months of maintaining 5,000 miles of freeway is about $613,333 per mile per month.

Is it just me or does that seem expensive?